SOUTH-WEST health providers have stocked up on influenza vaccinations ahead of this year’s flu season.
The Great South Coast Medicare Local immunisation program officer Alison Elliot said GPs clinics, hospitals and other heath services had been supplied with vaccine ahead of the official immunisation period, which starts on Saturday.
She said this year’s vaccination would target three strains of influenza expected to be prevalent this year.
“We are expecting two A strains — a Californian strain and a Texas strain — and a B strain this season,” she said.
“The official vaccination period starts on March 15, but I know there are some clinics who have already started their vaccinations.”
Ms Elliot said the vaccine was free for people over 65, pregnant women at any time in their pregnancy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and older, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
She encouraged as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
“We encourage anyone who can to get the vaccine to protect yourself and the people around you.
“Some people can’t have the vaccine, so the more people around them we can get vaccinated will mean levels of infection will be lower.”
Corangamite Shire is holding immunisation sessions in towns this month.
Cost for people under 65 years is $15 per immunisation or $7.50 per immunisation for concession card holders. The offer has also been extended to Corangamite Shire workplaces. Bookings are essential.